Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Electronic Harassment Bill Passes out of Conference Committee

The House and Senate agreed on a bill last week that would better protect Hawaii residents by including contact through electronic communications as a form of "harassment" and "stalking by harassment." The bill was introduced by Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu (District 41-Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele), chair of the Committee on Judiciary.

During a joint House-Senate Conference Committee on Friday, April 24, 2009 members approved a conference draft of HB615, HD1, SD2 that addresses the shortfalls in the current statute.

Popular websites such as Facebook and Myspace, as well as the increased ease of text messaging, have made "harassment" and "stalking by harassment" through forms of electronic communication a more common occurrence in today's society.

“Passage of this bill will update the current statute with all of the existing forms of technology,” explains Karamatsu. “It is important that lawmakers keep up with changing times and updated forms of communications in order to best serve our constituents.” Karamatsu was inspired to introduce this bill after witnessing two of his friends become victims of electronic harassment and having no option of legal recourse.

HB615, HD1, SD2, CD1 will face final approval by both the House and the Senate this week before going to the Governor for signature.

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